Azithromycin, the anitibiotic best known as a Z-pak is commonly prescribed for pneumonia. Some research suggests it may increase the risk of heart problems.
A new study looked at the outcomes of nearly 65,000 veterans over 65, treated for pneumonia at VA hospitals across the country. Researchers studied survival rates of these patients over 10 years and whether they had heart attacks, heart failure or abnormal heart rhythms.
Study author Dr. Eric Mortensen says, "patients who had received azithromycin had a small increase in the number of heart attacks, however, had much better survival than patients who did not receive azithromycin."
And he added that for every one heart attack that did not lead to death, seven lives were saved when the patients with pneumonia received azithromycin."
Researchers also say there was no increased risk of heart failure or irregular heartbeat in patients receiving the azithromycin.